Clay Christensen: Why most innovation leaders will fail

Clay Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor and best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” didn’t beat around the bush in a recent conversation about the challenges that confront executives responsible for innovation at established organizations. Less than a minute into our interview with Christensen, he said:

My sense is almost all of them will prove to be wasting time for the company, and they will fail.

That’s a scary pronouncement from the man who developed the theory of disruptive innovation, and who has been dubbed the world’s most influential management thinker. And when we asked him if he’d accept a Chief Innovation Officer job at a large, established company that had been around for several decades, his reply: “Never in a million years.” (Christensen is also a co-founder of the consulting firm Innosight.)

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